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HaysFreePress.com January 23, 2013 _ ql CAUGHT ON FACEBOOK The impact of social media and how it can be used in a court of law. - Page 1C Page 3B m Dermatologists urge teens and young adults to get checked, stay away from tanning beds BY KIM HILSENBECK kim@haysfreepress.com When Heather Anderson, a science teacher at Hays High School, gave a les- son on getting checked for skin cancer, many students may not have heeded her advice. One student did, however, and his family is very glad. Rebekah Cantu said her son, Seth SantaCruz, a fair-skinned sophomore at Hays High, talked with her about getting checked for skin cancer after his teacher discussed the importance of getting screened for melanoma, the most com- mon and deadliest of skin cancers. "Seth had raised moles on his back and shoulder," said Cantu, "and he wanted one of them removed.We didn't pay much attention because he had a mole check last summer for his Boy Scouts physical." Cantu said the doctor told her if it was just a cosmetic procedure, insurance wouldn't pay for it. Flash forward to later that fall when Anderson talked to her students about skin cancer. "Seth came home one day and he was very serious," Cantu recalled. "He said, 'Morn, my teacher said if a mole is bigger than a pencil eraser, it's most likely cancer." She made an appointment with her family doctor who cut out the mole and sent it for testing. "When it came hack, she told us it tested positive for melanoma," Cantu said. She said she took the news hard and spent a few weeks blaming herself. With some time to think back on everything, Cantu said she is ok with it. "i'm proud of Seth for coming to me and insisting we get him tested," she said. 'And we caught it early so it had not spread." Cantu said she made sure Seth thanked Anderson for the science lesson about skin cancer. Dr. Adam Mamelak at Sanova Derma- tology in Austin said he is seeing more and more cases of skin cancer among young adults, and even teenagers, than ever before. According to the National Cancer Institute, the number of new cases of melanoma in the United States in 2012 was estimated at 76,250. The number of deaths for the same year was estimated to be more than 9,100. "The skin cancer rates we're seeing are going through the roof," Mamelak said. COURTESY PHOTO Dr. Adam Mamelak examines a mole on a student's arm during a skin cancer screening. "It used to mostly affect grandfathers or middle aged people. BUt we're seeing 20-year-olds and even teens. It's unbe- lievable." And, he added, it is almost entirely preventable. "So much of what we see is behavior related," Mamelak said. Research shows that 90 percent of cases of melanoma are attributed to ultraviolet (UV) rays and sun exposure. Maroelak said protecting your skin from UV rays is important in reducing the chance of developing melanoma. "Wear sun screen every day; even in winter, If skiing, on aboat - every time you go outside," he said. Of course, as with anything, Mamelak said certain risk factors make some people more susceptible to melanoma, such as having fair skin, excessive sun exposure, numerous moles (more than 50), a history of sunburns, personal or family history of skin cancer and living in sunny or high-altitude climates. Mamelak said everyone can imple- ment their own skin cancer prevention behaviors. In addition to a yearly visit to the dermatologist, he suggested using a pneumohic device to help remember what to look for on your skin, such as ABCD. Those letters should help people remember some key factors in early skin cancer detection: Asymmetry;, Border irregularity (does a mole have a jagged border?), Color; multi-colored could mean a problem, and Diameter, a mole larger than six mil- limeters is a warning sign. 'A new mole isn't a bad thing," Mamelak said, "but If it's growing, chang- ing, or odd, it should be looked at by a dermatologist." Mamelak also advised not to wait to get checked. "If you catch melanoma early, it's very treatable," he said. "If it gets into other areas of body; it's hard to treat." According to Mamelak, "Once it spreads to the brain, liver and lungs, research shows we have not made a huge dent in increasing melanoma survival rates." Research also indicates a connection between melanoma and tanning bed use. Tanning beds radiate UV rays, which have been shown to be dangerous. Mamelak said he hopes to get the message out to young adults, especially women, that routine tanning is potential- ly more hazardous than laying in the sun. "They sometimes tan three to five times a week for years," be said. "By the time they see me, their skin is leather" For women under 30, Mamelak said he has seen research that shows people under age 30 who regularly use tanning beds increase their risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent. "Being tan used to be associated with the working class- they were out in the sun doing hard labor," Mamelak said. "Now it's a leisure activity." He also believes that television, fashion magazines and popular culture have influenced a generation or more of young people into thinking being tan is good. "They think being bronze looks healthy;" he said. The issue has become so ubiquitous that the government has stepped in to regulate tanning. In July 2009, the World Health Organi- zation International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working Group raised the classification of the use of UV-emitting tanning devices to Group 1 - meaning, carcinogenic to humans. This classification puts tanning beds alongside tobacco smoke, asbestos, and uranium as known cancer-causing agents. The U.S. Food and Drug Adminis- tration recently considered imposing tougher warning requirements for tanning beds. The U.S. Congress intro- duced a bill in 2010 called the Tanning Bed Cancer ControlAct that proposes to limit the amount of UV rays emitted from tanning beds and the length of time tanners can spend in the machines. Even President Obama's 2010 Health Care Reform Act, known to many as Obama- care, includes a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning services. Mamelak urges parents to keep their children out of tanning beds. "We really need to change attitudes about this issue," he said. As an alternative, if someone wants to look tan, Mamelak suggested trying spraytans. "Spray tans are completely healthy; they don't cause cancer," he said. 'And the products have improved so no one looks like an Oompa Loompa anymore." Sanova Dermatology even offers free skin cancer screenings because Mamelak believes it is critical to get checked regu- larly to catch it early. BY KIM HILSENBECK kim@haysfreepress.com Parents at four Hays CISD schools are being asked to cooperate with a re- search study on student absenteeism, according to Elsa Hinojosa, executive director for secondary performance. Kyle and Fuentes elementary schools, along with Chaplt Middle School and Lehman High'School, are the focus of a new study by E3 Alliance, an Austin-based nonprofit working to ensure academic success in Central Texas. The study also includes four schools from Pflugerville ISD. The main thrust of the research is to gather data to help school districts decide what services and support are needed for families whose children are absent from school, specifically those who miss school on a chronic basis. "We have data on who is absent and when," said AmyWiseman, lead researcher and project director from E3, "but we are missing the why part of the equation." The "why" is the crux of the study, according to Wiseman. She said campuses currently request data on why a student missed school and parental or medical notes are required for any absence, excused or unexcused. Excused absences include funerals, family emergencies, illness/medical "We have data on who is absent and when, but we are missing the 'why' part of the equation." -Amy Wiseman, E3 Alliance lead researcher and project director visits, weather-related issues and visit- ing a family member in the military. Unexcused absences include vaca- tions, missing the bus and taking care of another family member. For purposes of the study, Wiseman said families are being asked to provide as much detail about a student ab- sence as possible - which may be more than they normally provide. Hinojosa said, "Students and parents will continue to follow our procedures for reporting absences to their school, but might receive a follow-up phone call about the absence." Through a grant from Central Health and St. David's Foundation, E3 hired temporary staff at Hays CISD and Pflugerville ISD during the two-month study period. They are being paid at a substitute teacher rate, according to Wiseman, but there is no cost to either district for participating in the research. Wiseman said the extra personnel will make it easier for the campus staff to contact parents or family members of absent students in the event that no excuse or reason was provided or to gather additional details about an absence. She added that she designed the study to collect more detailed informa- tion about absenteeism. The team is particularly interested in chronic ab- sences - meaning students who are not in school more often than the average number of absences at that campus. "We are looking for data about students with common illnesses and issues, including asthma, diabetes, depression, anxiety and dental prob- lems," Wiseman said. She said the study aims to determine if students who miss school for those reasons are receiving medical treat- ment for those conditions. "And if not, we would like to know why not," Wiseman said. However, W-lseman pointed out that the research is intended to capture data on all absences, not just chronic episodes or students from low-income families. Once collected, Children's Optimal Health (COH), another Austin-based nonprofit, will map the data to deter- mine if there are any hotspots in the re- spective districts that need additional services or support to ensure students' attendance. An example of additional services may include a low or no-cost health care facility for low-income families, according to Wiseman. COH is the same company that con- ducted obesity mapping for the district last year. In her experience, Wiseman said there are three primary barriers pre- venting students, particularly from low-income families, from seeking medical treatment. "The cost, having transportation to get to the doctor and work scheduling conflicts," saidWiseman, "are the main reasons we see low-income students not getting medical treatment." By analyzing the E3 study data, Hi- nojosa said campus leaders will better understand student attendance trends. "They can then develop plans to increase attendance rates," she said. Wiseman said the data collection for the study runs through March 20. She added that all information is confiden- tial and students will not be identified in the data, which will be available later this spring. Live in Peace rally tonight Sponsored by Hays High School's No Place for Hate, the Live in Peace rally is a community event that will bring students together to promote equality and end discrimination. The goal is to remind all of us how to live in peace, loin the Live in Peace rally from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23 at the Buda City Park Pavilion. Hays CISD board mem- hers to be ban- ored At the regular school board meeting Jan. 28, district campuses and stu- dents will honor the seven members of the Hays CISD Board of Trustees. The highlight of the event will be a performance by the district's elementary school honor choir. This recognition comes as part of January's School Board Recognition Month celebrations happening statewide. The meeting takes place beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of Lehman High School. Legally Blonde - The Hays High musical The Hays High School theater department pres- ents Legally Blonde - the story of a sorority girl who struggles to win back her ex-boyfriend by earning a law degree. Performanc- es are scheduled for Jan. 31 - Feb. 2 at the Perform- ing Arts Center. Evening performances are at 7 p.m. in addition to a 2 p.m. matinee on Feb. 2. collaborates with district on venues Hays CISD and the Star- light Symphony Orchestra entered a joint agreement recently that will, provide Central Texas musicians of all ages - elementary and secondary students, university students, com- munity musicians, and professional perform- ers - rehearsal space and concert venues. Though affiliated with the Wimber- ley Players, the non-profit orchestra operates inde- pendently. It is a regional community orch&stra for Kyle, Buda, Wimber- ley, Driftwood, Dripping Springs, Oak Hill, Lock- hart, San Marcos, Canyon Lake, Blanco, lohnson City, and surrounding Central Texas communi- ties. The orchestra con- ductor, Donald K. Miller, is currently a member of the University of Texas at San Antonio faculty where he conducts the sym- phonic band and chamber winds. The next concert will feature the winners of the Young Artists Com- petition. Concert dates and locations are: 7 p.m. Mar. 2, at the First Baptist Church in Wimberley and 4 p.m. Mar. 3 at the Hays Performing Arts Center in Kyle. All concerts are free and open to the public. To schedule an appointment, call 512-694-1746 + Offering lessons in piano, guitar, and alt instruments 119 Cimarmn Park Loop Ste. B. ...... 312-5995 www, AllegroFineArts.com FARMERS' Debbie Thames Insurance Agency AUTO HOME LIFE, BOAT HEALTH 251 N. FM 1626 #2C Buda, TX 78610 Office: (512) 312-1917 Fax: 312-0688 Email: dvthames @ austin.rr.com Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm Your Business & Referrals Are Appreciated ADWARE SPYWARE ...... 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